Donate to RNS

Francis sneezes * Shoeboxes stuffed * ‘Beaking Bad’: Friday’s Religion News Roundup

The pope has a cold, Sarah Palin is sorry, Franklin Graham's evangelical shoe boxes get stuffed at some public schools, and more at Friday's Religion News Roundup.

A child receives a gift from Operation Christmas Child. Photo courtesy Samaritan's Purse

Patience. Patience. President Obama asks Americans to hang in while his administration attempts to unscramble the eggs with the deployment of the Affordable Care Act. He also calls for patience with international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear arms.

Chinese parents may rejoice – the government is about to ease its one-child policy and abolish the re-education labor camps in a wave of dozens of recently approved social and economic reforms.

What’s Italian for chicken soup? Pope Francis has a cold and cancelled all his Friday audiences, the Vatican says. Meanwhile, some folks are still digesting his message to be more skeptical if they have a vision of Mary sending them a personal message. The mother of God is “not a postmaster of the post office sending out messages every day,” the pope said. “Don’t look for strange things, don’t seek novelties with this worldly curiosity.”

Whose messages are getting through to the Holy See? David Gibson names four influential U.S. Catholic bishops including: The pope’s  BFF, Cardinal Sean O’Malley; quiet kingmaker Cardinal Daniel DiNardo; classic insider Cardinal Donald Wuerl, and traditionalist force Cardinal Raymond Burke.

Boys, don’t be pansies and if you are, it’s the fault of the “modern church and the feminist movement.” That’s advice motivational speaker Justin Lookadoo dished out to teens at a Texas high school. Even the kids laughed at him. Meanwhile parents flipped, and the principal is really sorry for inviting him even with the caveat that he not “discuss religion.” Surprising, since he already knew about Lookadoo’s website dating rules. It tells girls to remember, “God made guys as leaders.” Guys are told,  “Men of God are wild, not domesticated. Dateable guys aren’t tamed.”

A child receives a gift from Operation Christmas Child. Photo courtesy Samaritan's Purse

A child receives a gift from Operation Christmas Child. Photo courtesy Samaritan’s Purse

Every year Franklin Graham’s evangelical-driven development and aid agency Samaritan’s Purse has hundreds of thousands of families stuffing shoeboxes with Christmas gifts for bereft children. The boxes are plumped up with evangelical messages and shipped abroad. Now, The American Humanist Association, wants public schools to drop participation in Operation Christmas Child.

Outrage among American Jews didn’t convince George W. Bush to cancel his speech at a fundraiser for the Messianic Bible Institute, a Christian group that seeks to convert Jews. Faith & Reason invited folks to chime in on why Jews are so darn touchy about folks trying to wipe out Judaism.

The State Department has named the Islamic extremist group in Nigeria, Boko Haram, a terrorist organization.

Now that Duck Dynasty folks have teamed up with a winery to launch a brand of vino called “Duck Commander,” the Free Will Baptist Family Ministries in Greeneville, Tenn., said duck call mogul Willie Robertson will no longer speak at their fundraiser for programs to combat teen alcohol and drug use.

Scientology expands in Israel, opening a new center in Carmiel with a slate of “life improvement courses and spiritual counseling.”

How do you avoid burnout if you open your heart and your doors with Christian hospitality to every needy stranger? Jonathan Wilson Hargrove tells Jonathan Merritt the key is to be hospitable all day long then turn off the phone and go to bed.

Phone off. Got that? Shocking!

The Twible, rhymes with Bible, is here with an irreverent tweet for every chapter of scripture. RNS blogger and author Jana Riess aimed her text at folks willing to read the Bible with a sense of humor and their antenna tuned to social justice. Fox-News-watching-tea-partiers, this is not writ for you.

Fox BFF  Sarah Palin has apologized for criticizing the Pope for liberal comments, admitting she should have “done her homework.”  Turns out, surprise!, it’s the mainstream media’s fault she talked out of turn.

A professor tells the “Daily Mail” he’s got proof of life after death: “When we die our life becomes a ‘perennial flower that returns to bloom in the multiverse.'” (If true, I will be coming back as a really gaudy camellia.)  Wake Forest University School of medicine’s Robert Lanza bases this on biocentrism – the idea that consciousness created the universe(s), not vice versa.

Nah, not so much, says Tim Maudlin, author of Philosophy and Faith, in “Aeon Magazine”: “You and I and every other human being are the products of chance, and came into existence against very long odds.”

Finally, because we cannot get enough of the cringe-worthy jokes about the Thanksgiving/Hanukkah 2014 mash-up, check out Breaking Bad Thanksgivukah in which Walter Whitemeat explains the holiday (s) from an RV in the Negev.